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Daniel

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Five Chef Families

How alums of Le Cirque, Daniel, Per Se, Craft, 71 Clinton Fresh Food, and Pegu have fared throughout the city.

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Global Warming Endangers Black Truffles; Gourmands Despair at God’s Indifference to Suffering

We had a good bit of sport over the astronomical prices paid this past summer for white truffles in New York restaurants. But what if their black cousins, long the déclassé branch of the family, became even more expensive? Or disappeared entirely? That wouldn’t be so funny. And it wouldn’t be good for the price of white truffles, which, like Beluga caviar and shark-fin soup, could become a purely plutocratic pleasure sooner than we expected. (Not that truffles are evil in the way of Beluga caviar and shark-fin soup; we’re just thinking of endangered luxury foods, you understand.) An article in USA Today suggests that the global warming is currently bringing the hammer down on black-truffle production and that (gasp) “France's black truffle will one day be just a memory.” It’s a similar story around the world, as fish stocks are depleted, ecosystems are knocked out of whack, and global demand for things like toro and truffles move beyond a small cluster of ascot-wearing bons vivants.

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Daniel Hires Its First Female Maître D'

The position of chef remains overwhelmingly male, a fact we wrote about recently in the magazine, but maître d', the functional boss of the dining room, has been if anything even more so. That’s why the promotion of Maite Montenegro to head maître’ d' at Daniel this week is so notable. The maître d’ is the ultimate restaurant authority figure, the person that knows how to treat everybody and whom everybody trusts and looks to for guidance.

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Come Summer, a New Look for Daniel

Daniel, arguably the grandest of the city’s top dining rooms is planning a rehab, though it won’t be until the summer. Though neither the restaurant nor its patrons are dissatisfied with the current room (and why would they be? It looks like the gateway to the afterlife, circa 1895!), the renovation will keep the place fresh. “Upper East Side ladies get their face-lifts before they’re needed,” spokeswoman Georgette Farkas tells us. “It's something we’ve been thinking about. But Daniel doesn’t want to do anything too revolutionary.” Farkas wouldn’t name names, but a source close to the restaurant says designer Adam Tihany, who did Le Cirque 3.0 and Osteria del Circo, is topping the short list of candidates. In the meantime, the Daniel empire has plenty to keep it busy: Bar Boulud is still slated for a December opening; Maison Boulud, in Bejing, will open in March; and Boulud’s downtown burger bar is, sadly, still unnamed. Related: Exclusive: Feast Your Eyes on Bar Boulud, Coming in November

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Zagat 2008 Smiles on Daniel, Gordon Ramsay, Others

New York’s little red book, the 2008 Zagat guide, is out today. It is more significant to the restaurant world than the Michelin guide, and for good reason: The same people who use it are the ones who write it. So what if it’s a popularity contest? Life is a popularity contest. There were some minor shakeups in this year’s rankings, such as Union Square Cafe retaking its sibling Gramercy as most popular restaurant, and Daniel retaking the top spot in cuisine from Le Bernardin. But the more interesting points required a slightly closer look.

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Your Chance Has Come at Last to Eat Boulud’s Food for Free

Chef demonstrations tend to be pretty grim affairs, and the so-called “tastings” that come with it even worse. (Usually, it’s a sample of whatever horrible product the chef is currently hawking in groceries.) Tomorrow’s demo by Daniel Boulud at the Time Warner Center's Williams Sonoma, though, will be a rare chance to actually eat the chef’s actual food. The chef is promoting The Cafe Boulud Cookbook, but there's a bonus Bar Boulud tasting, too.

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Sorry, Ladies: ‘Top Chef’ Non-Winner Tre Wilcox Will Not Seek Divorce

Tre Wilcox
Last night’s Top Chef claimed Tre Wilcox, the affable Texas chef and audience favorite. Acting as executive chef for Restaurant April, three of his dishes bombed and the judges reluctantly singled him out as the night’s loser. He spoke with us about his new female fans and why he thinks Hung will become this season’s Top Chef.

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Food-Labor Discord Spreads to Laborers

Voice
If our recent coverage of the deliveryman revolt caused you to imagine a Utopia in which once lowly restaurant workers pour bubbly on their bikinied yacht passengers while singing “I’m a go-getter,” think again: A feature in today’s Village Voice indicates that all is not well within the Restaurant Opportunity Center of New York (ROC-NY), the group that protests alleged labor-law-flaunting restaurants like Daniel, Smith & Wollensky, and the Fireman Hospitality Group’s eateries. The nonprofit is being sued by former members who allege that they were cheated out of a fair share of the ROC’s pioneering co-op restaurant, Colors. And that’s just the start of the beef. Fork Off [VV] Related: Deliveryman Revolt Continues With No Check in Sight [Grub Street] The Delivery Man’s Uprising [NYM]

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